Infor is Onto Something

  A few days ago I received an invitation to attend Infor’s Retail event for industry research analysts and media in NYC. Of course, hearing from none other than Whole Foods, an Infor Optiva user, was a personal draw for me at this event. I must say I was both pleasantly surprised and curious about Infor’s rejuvenated strategy in retail. If true, this company’s vision and journey in retail could be termed as “disruptive”, especially because one doesn’t hear a lot of transformative software big ideas and follow-through action from ERP companies every day. However, I am now waiting for the real story from many more Infor customers. If what we heard comes to fruition, Infor retail users will experience several enhancements to Infor solutions that are deployed at retail home offices, stores and distribution centers in the foreseeable future. Briefly, here are my top two takeaways from the event and I will follow-up with some more updates during or just after NRF 2016: The digital and user-centered design strategy of Infor is driving a sizeable UI/UX upgrade for some very traditional and legacy retail solutions such as merchandise planning, PLM, CRM, financials and others. For example, within merchandise planning, changing up the complicated multi-attribute based planning tools is not easy. However, Infor demonstrated some interesting elements including functional diversification to the planning templates, look and feel changes, and user-level task integration tools as well as reminders/alerts for pending tasks. All these changes are geared towards one goal- simplification. Uber cloud enablement across all retail and other applications is a refreshing and welcome piece of news and one that is expected now from all enterprise and best-of-breed retail software companies as it promotes increased scalability and time to market. However, what clinched it for me was the...

Big Data Vision 2015

Big Data is a generational leap from an organization’s current analytics capabilities (from a data integration and management perspective) to a state wherein it is able to derive strategic value from the analysis of large volume, greater variety and velocity of data. The consumer is so far ahead in her use of mobile technologies; retailers have to play catch-up. The infographic below illustrates Big Data vision for...

3rd Annual Analytics in Retail

Now in its 3rd year, EKN’s annual Analytics in Retail industry benchmark is based on a survey of 200+ retailers. Consistent with findings of past studies, retailers continue to view analytics as extremely strategic, yet struggle to derive commensurate value from their analytics investments. 80% state they lag behind Amazon in terms of the strategic use of analytics. Business analytics will only evolve further into a strategic capability that sits at the intersection of customer preferences, business strategy and business processes. Insights will be deeply embedded across a retailer’s functional value chain, affording it both the ability to be investigative and predictive (strategic), as well as the adeptness to be efficient and agile (operational). A smarter, integrated brand of retail cannot be delivered without the ability to improve decision-making across the board via deeper customer insights. In 2014 retailers will focus on delivering existing insights to the right person at the right time with the relevant context (investments in Mobile Business Intelligence and Digital Dashboards will rise) and on ensuring insights are easily consumed and acted upon by business users (Data Visualization). In-store customer location tracking will be one of 2014’s analytics buzzworthy use cases, whereas investments in Big Data will continue to be byte sized. However, to build sustainable competitive differentiation through business analytics, retailers will need to go one step further than just focusing on data, tools and resources. Those that are able to overlay their analytics capabilities with a strategy and organizational capability tightly linked with their business model will lead the way. Therein lies the future of retail analytics. In this report: The hindsight > insight...

2013 Big Data in Retail

In a short period of time Big Data has traversed a familiar hype cycle – from exuberant optimism to disillusionment. In EKN’s view, retailers will do well to focus on pertinent issues it brings into focus: Namely, the opportunity to improve customer-centric and operational decision-making by building deeper insight from a massive stream of internal and external data. However, retailers must approach Big Data as they would any other business strategy, which is to ask 3 important questions; Is this for us, how ready are we and how do we set ourselves up for success? EKN’s 2012 Big Data report was a first of its kind, detailed look at Big Data in retail. This report is based on an additional survey of 70+ retail industry executives, and includes new findings as well as comparison with those from last year. Download Full...

Infographic: Scaling the Peak of Omni-channel Analytics Maturity in Retail

Improving customer insights and embedding such insights across all retail business functions is one of the foundational elements of Omni-channel retail. Analytics maturity in turn depends on analytics capabilities (reporting, basic analytics, predictive analytics, investigative analytics), data and systems integration (quality of data, variety of data, how well integrated data and information systems are) and organizational alignment (analytics team structure, ability to take action on the insights, management buy-in). The infographic below highlights retailers’ current analytics maturity across these areas and provides retail success stories from across the...